Thursday, December 23, 2010

In the Spirit of Christmas, I am Declaring War

I am declaring war on spiders. And I am serious as a heart attack.

I once tried to make an agreement with a spider. I laid out the terms of him staying in my house, all of which I thought were reasonable. The fucker broke every single agreement. Lesson learned? Spiders cannot be trusted.

Second lesson learned? I am way too easy and forgiving. Well, I can tell you right here, right now, that is changing. There will be no mercy from Here. On. Out.

Last Saturday, D and I left the house on a small errand. As we're pulling out of the driveway, and the garage door is going down, I see, what? A spider dangling off of the garage door? I stop the door, pull up under it and see, what-the-fuck-is-that? Another motherfucking, goddamn black widow. Number what? Nine? In the last two years? I get out of the car, grab the can of Raid and spray her ass. She shrivels, then starts crawling up her little webby string. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Seriously? Die already, you fucking bitch!!!!! I got the shovel out and broke at least one of her legs. She still wasn't dead, but I was satisfied that eventually she would suffocate and, in the meantime, wouldn't get far with her two broken legs.

Nine days later, I'm home for lunch. After devouring the most delicious sandwich with the tastiest bread (thanks to Fiona), I'm on my way out the door when I see a spider. In my laundry room. On the fucking door. And, what? What is this? Oh, dear God, it's another fucking black widow. Must be a daughter of the one from the week before, because she was smaller. But just as resistant to Raid. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. Finally she crawled into a little ball and I was on my merry way.

Today I was noticing the "cobwebs" in the corners of my bedroom. I investigated all corners of the house. I found a spider in the corner of my bedroom. Yes, my sanctuary. The room in which I sleep. The last place I want to be unconscious knowing that there are eight-legged creatures about. Spray. Crawl. Spray. Crawl. WTF??? Are you fucking kidding me???? It can't be. Spray. Spray. Spray. It finally curled up into a tiny little ball and I was able to move it to the sink. And, yes. There it was. Faint, but it was there. A small, reddish-brown spot on the abdomen. Mother-fucking black widows are taking over my house.

So, here it is. I am officially and resoundingly declaring war. Anything with eight legs is not allowed in my house and will die. No mercy. No questions asked.

Merry Fucking Christmas, arachnids.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Week's Recap, or Things That Seem Really Weird But Are Just My Life

The week started normal. I guess. I don’t really remember all the way back to Monday, but I’m going to call it normal.

Tuesday is when the weirdness started happening. My manager scheduled a “brief discussion” for our team. A “brief discussion” is usually a bad thing. I don’t look forward to them. I dreaded this one. Even more so when he started the “discussion” with a red face and clearing his throat like he was trying not to cry and then saying, “It is with great sorrow….” Okay, stop right here. This is my thought process. “What? Why is he going to cry? What? Wtf? Great sorrow? Oh shit, our whole department is being eliminated. They’re moving everything out to Dehli. Oh, shit!! I don’t have a job? Wtf am I supposed to do? How can they do this right before Christmas? What ASSHOLES!!” And then he finished his sentence. “…. that I announce my resignation.” And then this went through my head, “What? Oh, it’s just you? Well then, that’s okay. As long as I still have a job. Hmmm, is this voluntary or involuntary? What’s going on that I don’t know about? Who cares, as long as I have a job. Oh shit, he really is going to cry. I can’t look at him. But I can’t look away, because he’ll think I’m being really rude and that I don’t care and he’ll be all offended, but if I look, oh crap, I’m going to start crying. Fuck, this is the weirdest ‘brief discussion’ in the history of Ever.”

The next day in my one-on-one with my manager, I tried to get the real scoop, but he wouldn’t bite. He hinted though, so I think I will be able to weasel it out of him. And I organized a roast of him in our Toastmasters meeting and enjoyed watching him turn about 25 shades of red.

Wednesday was my favorite holiday activity of the season. My office “adopts” a family that we buy presents for and I delivered them with a couple of other “elves” that afternoon. The kids in the family were so sweet and polite and obviously very thankful. But not so mushy that they made me cry and I liked them even better for that. Although the mom said she would send me pictures of their Christmas day and that might make me cry, but at least I’ll be at my desk and not making a fool of myself in public.

Friday was the most boring night in a while. Nothing to do. Nothing. For dinner I had a piece of pie and a Manhattan. Or two. I watched something on tv, it’s not even memorable. And then I got really grossed out by a worm on my sliding glass door. I know, right? How bizarre is that? How do worms live in 20 degree weather? The really gross part was that it was in the corner of the door frame so I couldn’t just brush it off. And since it was really creeping me out and I didn’t want it finding its way in my house, (because fuck knows there are enough damn spiders in there) I did something totally gross. I got out the long lighter and burned it. I know PETA will be all up my ass for this, but I don’t care. Except I did feel really gross when it curled its little body around trying to get away from it. Only it didn’t really try because it still clung to the door frame. Seriously, if someone was trying to set me on fire, I wouldn’t just lie down and twist around, I would fucking run. So really, it just shows how dumb this worm was and that it deserved to die. I’m not sure it did die though, it eventually just fell down and I was so ooged out that I had actually tried to burn a living thing that I closed the door and went to bed.

Saturday was a delightful adventure. M and I went to see the gingerbread houses in Sunriver. She insisted on trying my $85 tea and I insisted on making cookies for the drive. The houses were really cute (some of them) and I took pictures of them until my retarded, defective camera decided to stop working. Afterwards, we went to the Owl’s Nest for a couple of drinks and some soup. It was perfect – garland with twinkly lights next to us, a warm fireplace, and a view of snow-covered trees. The only thing that would have made it more perfect, and that I kept imagining, would have been a horse and sleigh jingling merrily by.

After my picture-perfect afternoon, I attended a party that promised beer pong. Yeah, the dichotomy of the two activities wasn’t lost on my either. There were a couple of drunk girls who looked to be about 20 attempting to sing Journey. One of them called it “baby-making music”. Um, sure. Whatever. Probably the best conversation of the evening involved E and his disappointment that Mike Tyson might be gay, which follows.

Me: Yeah, I could buy him being gay.
E: But he was my hero!
Me: Really? How do you define heroism? Biting someone’s ear off?
E: Well, no. I meant back in the 80’s.
Me: Oh, when he was beating his wife and raping women?
E: ………….

He walked off to tell the same exact story to a guy. I guess girls just don’t understand real heros.

Yep, always end on a high note. Or at least the last word.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Crack - It Does a Mom Good

I want a new drug. Not like Huey Lewis, but like Crack for Moms. It can’t be addictive, it’s just something that moms get (for free) to help them get through the holidays without losing sleep, something that makes us moms look super happy and cheerful and helps us get everything done and done really well so that everyone thinks we are miracle workers and they will wonder at our amazing skills and charming dispositions. Even if I can’t have it for the whole season, can I just have it for this weekend?

Nutcracker weekend is D’s favorite and my most hated. Between rehearsals, sore toes, gift-buying , tree decorating, little sleep, super adrenaline rushes and winter weather, it’s a minor miracle that we both make it through in one piece. D had her first meltdown last night; she broke down in tears when I called to tell her that missing school today was not an option. That’s when she told me she broke her retainer and, since there aren’t enough hours in the day for school, orthodontist appointments, eating and rehearsal, I gave in and let her skip school. However, I canceled her sleepover for Saturday night which is “so unfair” and means that I “really don’t understand” her. Really? Because I never have to make compromises or give up things I want to do? Oh wait, this is supposed to be my free weekend but I gave it up so that I can cover hair-braiding duty, rehearsal/performance taxiing, assemble gifts for her fellow ballerinas and make sure she eats properly. I am SO mean. Is my evil witch wart showing?

I’m not really complaining, really just venting. And my lack of energy actually is a problem. I want to enjoy the holidays. I want D to enjoy her ballet. I want everyone around me to enjoy themselves and not have to stare at dark circles under my eyes or get their heads snapped off because, right now, most questions that have anything to do with my time feels like my blood is being drawn and is draining the life out of me.

I do take comfort in knowing I’m not the only one. It’s the challenge for all moms. And a few dads, but I think for the most part, dads are allowed to be grumpy. Dads are forgiven for doing things not-the-right way. Moms aren’t. Moms are expected to be superhuman. Honestly, I’m okay with that. I just need some help.

Mom Crack – something to get us through the holidays, birthdays, graduations and any other times in our lives that our families are depending on us to get an extraordinary job done with style, grace and a smile on our face. If it removes wrinkles and gray hair – BONUS!!

Someone get on that. Now. Please. Thank you in advance.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Redefining Beauty

There’s a blog I like to read because the author is super funny and smart and I think we’d be BFF’s if we ever met. Only not better BFF’s than me and the Wife. Which, if we ever meet, I’ll have to tell her up front so she can decide if she’s okay with being second-best BFF but she totally would, because she’d still get to be a BFF with me and I’m just awesome. Anyway, she’s super funny and irreverent but sometimes also really poignant and her post today really made me stop and think.

It’s all about beauty and she asked her readers to reply saying why they are beautiful. And that’s what stopped me. Because most days, as in 364 out of 365, I don’t think of myself as beautiful. On good days I’m cute, on spectacular days when my hair cooperates and my jeans hug my ass just the right way, I’ll go so far as to say I’m hot, except that hot is really more of an attitude. Beauty, to me, has always been a physical description.

When I was growing up, I thought I’d never be beautiful. I was unfortunate enough to inherit the nose that just about everyone on my dad’s side has been cursed with. I say cursed because I hated it. It was big, wide at the tip and with a giant bump on the bridge. I started to notice it when I was around 11. That was when I realized that it wasn’t cute and the more I looked in the mirror, the more I decided it was ugly. By the time I was 12 I was going to bed at night with my finger pressed firmly on the bump, hoping that it would straighten out overnight. I started hating pictures of myself because all I saw was that Nose. I didn’t want to be seen from the side and even fretted about other drivers seeing my profile in my car. All my life, I wanted a nose job.

When my daughter was born, I questioned my desire to “fix” myself. What kind of message would it send her about self-acceptance? Did I want to emphasize the importance of appearance and image and beauty over intelligence and inner strength? I chose a non-girly name for her because I wanted her to be strong. In her toddler years I avoided telling her how cute she looked and instead focused on the smart things she did or said. She broke her collarbone when she was nearly two, which shattered her confidence in her physical abilities, so much so that she refused to go down the slide at the park, she was so terrified. I put her in a preschool with a focus on gymnastics, giving her back her confidence and her joy in playing and tumbling.

However, nothing I did in those early years prevented her from turning into a girly-girl. She likes pink, loves her hair long, she’s been boy-crazy since the age of four, loves ballet and has asked to change her name to Sophie. She’s a girl and she loves being a girl. She loves to look and feel pretty.

So, four years ago, I decided that I wanted to feel pretty too, that if there was something I could do about it, that I would. I researched plastic surgery and surgeons in my area. I scoured message boards on nose jobs, compared dozens and dozens of before-and-after pictures. Six months later, I made an appointment with a surgeon.

I liked him right away. Every place that offers advice will tell you to interview several doctors before making a decision, but I didn’t think it was necessary. Dr. Petroff was completely honest in his assessment, telling me I would be pleased with my results, without making any promises about how incredibly beautiful I would be or how it would drastically change my life. He was matter-of-fact and I trusted him. I scheduled the surgery appointment a week later.

I knew, from all of my research, that I’d feel a range of emotions after surgery, including depression. But I felt great. I felt great the week after, even with the bandage and the black eyes and the thumbprint-shaped bruise on my cheek from someone holding me down because I kept waking up during the surgery. (Here’s a tip – if you drink like a fish, tell your anesthesiologist that you drink like a fish. Don’t minimize that shit, they ask for a reason.) I couldn’t wait to see the “new” me.

I felt great until the day the bandages came off. My nose was still swollen, still red, I wasn’t magically transformed. I still looked like me. I cried all the way home. It was a three-hour drive.

It took a couple of days to calm down and decide that I really hadn’t made the biggest mistake of my life and to know that looking like myself was okay. When I went back to work, nobody said anything. Nobody noticed. It’s still a little disconcerting when I tell people, even now, that I had my nose done. They say I look the same, that I didn’t need it.

But I did. I needed it for me. And people did notice. I went out for drinks with a friend a couple of months after my surgery and realized that people were looking at me. Guys were checking me out. I could smile back and flirt and it was fun. I realized that they weren’t reacting to my physical appearance, but to my attitude. I felt different - better, even sassy. I had a confidence that I never had before. And for that reason, I’d do it all again.

I still don’t love pictures of myself. I sometimes catch glimpses of the wideness of my nose, or I think I look too fat or that my hair looks goofy. I think that’s just called Being a Woman. The difference is that I don’t hide like I did. I want to be in photographs because I want the memories. And sometimes, I really do like the way I look, and that feels really, really good.

Today I decided to answer the challenge of explaining why I’m beautiful. And you know what? It didn’t take as long as I thought it would. It wasn’t that hard. And you know what else? It has nothing to do with how I look.

These are the reasons I’m beautiful:

I am beautiful because I love fiercely.
I am beautiful because I am constantly learning and evolving.
I am beautiful because I have a daughter that I am proud of.
I am beautiful because I can laugh and cry and know that I can't live without doing both.
I am beautiful because I learn to love myself a little more each day.
I am beautiful because I'm a woman.

Don't Eat the Yellow Snow

There is plenty of it at my house. My dogs hate snow and demonstrate their dislike through sheer laziness. They take about two steps outside before squatting to pee. They’re effectively peeing on the patio. Technically, they’re not even in the yard. Rembrandt will even stare me down while he pees, like it’s my fault that it’s cold, like I made it snow and he’s going to punish me for freezing his balls off. He forgets that he has no balls.

Luckily, they do venture out into the actual yard to do their number two business. Sometimes I’m even nice enough to shovel a pathway for them to the side of the house so they’re not sinking down to their bellies with each step they take.

Lately, they’ve been using a snowless patch in the corner of the yard. I watched Remy this morning because I was in a hurry to feed him before getting ready for work (also because when he’s ready to come in, he’s really ready and he’ll practically knock the door down trying to get back into the house.) As soon as he was done, I opened the door to let him in and he made a beeline for it. Except it was the most comical thing I’ve seen in a while. He’s running full force, with his ears pressed back against his head and his eyes bulging out in this wild, frantic expression. The snow was mostly ice on top, so his back feet slid out from under him with each step, sending him more and more sideways, which only made him more frantic. He looked retarded. And hilarious. I laughed until I thought I would throw up.

Fine, so I’ll put up with a little yellow snow for some quality entertainment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Squished Boobs Part 2

Since I don’t have to report that I have boob cancer, I’m ready to report on my mammogram. Or, as D called it, my mammaries exam.

Yes, you heard right. Mammogram. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Raise your hand if you love getting them done. Yeah, I didn’t think so. I wasn’t too pleased when my doctor’s “Happy Birthday!” was followed with “now get a mammogram. You’re 40 and old and probably already cancer-ridden. I hope you’ve written your will.” Okay, so I added that last part, but she still didn’t score any points with me and we are not now BFF’s.

When I told my friends that I had made the dreaded appointment, I got lots of sympathy. Except for a couple of people, I’m the first in my group of friends to experience this monumental Rite of Passage. Those that actually had already done it said it wasn’t so bad. But I didn’t believe them. There’s a reason that women dread getting their boobs squished and I now have firsthand experience of why exactly that is. Remember, you heard it here first.

Before my appointment I turned to my good friend Google, who came up with some interesting facts that it was important to know beforehand. Things like don’t wear lotion or deodorant. Be sure to wear either a skirt or pants because you’ll be topless and you don’t want to also be bottomless. They don’t supply gowns, they supply crop tops. Think of a table cloth versus a napkin, you don’t want your nether regions exposed. And before any of you have some smart-ass comment about what else would you wear, some of us actually do wear dresses on occasion. However, if you do wear overalls or jumpsuits, don’t wear them to your appointment. Actually, just don’t wear them at all. In general. Don’t.

On the morning of my appointment, I stared at my closet for probably 20 minutes, trying to decide which pair of jeans or skirt would give me the smallest mushroom top. What could I stand to be seen in topless? My closet stared back at me and said, “Not much. You’re a giant fat cow and you should be embarrassed to take your top off in front of anyone.” I hate my closet.

After deciding on the most forgiving pair of jeans that I own, along with cute boots to detract from the gut spillage, I tossed my deodorant in my purse and off I went to the radiology office. I hadn’t been there since the ultrasounds I had when I was pregnant. At least they didn’t make me hold my pee until I thought my eyeballs would burst, but I also knew I wouldn’t be taking home an image of tiny, cute little feet pressing against my belly.

When they called me in, I was relieved to find that the technician was not only older than me, but also fatter. How humiliating would it be to get topless in front of some skinny, super-model bitch? The second pleasant surprise was that Google Images lies. You don’t have to get totally topless, they let you poke out just a boob or maybe an arm, but for the most part, you can hide your waistband flaws. Google did not lie about how much you will be handled. If you don’t like strange women touching your breasts and moving them around, just get over it now. I was positioned more than once for each image, sometimes both boobs were manipulated into just the right pose or pushed up onto the shelf-thingy. Luckily the tech stood to the side of me so there wasn’t a chance for awkward eye contact. Really, there’s no need to make a situation more awkward than it already is.

So, once all of your boob is where she wants it to be, down comes the hard, plastic paddle that flattens your poor boob as near pancake-flat as possible. You have to hold your breath and stay absolutely still, so there’s no chance to look down and survey the damage, which is probably just as well. I know what you’re all asking, “Does it hurt?” What do you think? Why don’t you just take your hands and squeeze a boob down to the thickness of a piece of toast? Yes, it hurts. But it’s over really quickly. As soon as she took her little picture, the paddle thing released and I could breathe. Actually, I think the not breathing or moving was the hardest. There was something about having my breast in a vise that made me want to panic and staying still for 5 seconds was almost impossible.

To make myself feel better, I tried to start a conversation with the tech. And what did I come up with? The most juvenile-sounding question ever. Seriously. I sounded like a 12-year-old boy. “Is it weird that it’s your job to look at boobs all day?” Yep. THAT came out of my mouth. For a minute she looked at me like I’d just grown blue and orange-striped boobs with tongues of flame out of the sides of my head, which I thought was a teensy bit of an overreaction. Come on, don’t people say weird things when they’re nervous? And I have never, ever met anyone whose job it is to touch other women’s boobs all day. It’s not like I have any frame of reference.
Finally, she thought of an appropriate answer to my obviously inappropriate question.

She said that when she worked in Salem, students would come through for training and she said that all of the male students exclaimed how lucky she was and how she must have the best job in the world. First of all, unless she was a lesbian, I don’t know why she’d get such a kick out of it. The male species is so retarded sometimes. But her answer to the retards was “Well, sure. Except that most of the boobs I see are the age of your mothers and grandmothers.” Which grossed out the retards but made me feel so much better. In that light, I probably had the best boobs she’d seen all day! Actually, I’m rather fond of my boobs which is why I was so concerned about them being damaged and permanently flattened. They’re actually kinda great, but compared to 60 year old boobs, they’re practically rock stars! And here I was, foolishly comparing them to 21-year-olds.

Anyway, I was in and out of there in a shorter time than it has taken me to write this blog. Or for you to read it, for that matter. I know, I’m a little wordy, but you know you want every detail. I was sent on my merry little way and told that my doctor would get my results and I would get a letter.

Only I didn’t get a letter. I got a call. From my doctor’s office. Telling me I had to go back. They told me it was routine, that they get five or six of these a week. The technician had even told me at the time of my appointment and Google confirmed the “normalness”. Still, there’s that little “what if?” What if it turns out not normal? What if I do have cancer? What makes me so special that I deserve to dodge this bullet? I only had to wait a few days, with Thanksgiving falling in between, so I had plenty of food and friends to keep me occupied.

At the second appointment, the tech showed me the image of the breast and the spot they were “concerned” with. My boob, in black and white, with funny, squiggly lines and a teeny, tiny white spot I never would have seen had it not been pointed out to me. She took two more pictures, one at a different angle than the last time, assured me that I would know something before I left, and had me wait while she ran over to the radiologist’s office. She returned in less than 5 minutes, time I used to Facebook and Twitter, saying that it was probably a lymph node, but he really wanted an ultrasound to be sure.

The ultrasound technician looked like she was about 14 and had a round, perky little butt even in scrubs. This is where it gets to be less fair. Except she had the insecurity of youth that kept her from making any kind of small talk lest she reveal how stupid she thinks everyone else thinks she is. I was starting to wonder though, when it took her approximately 5 minutes to find the spot she was looking for. I wanted to yell out at least three times, “Stop! There it is! Eureka!” But I kept my mouth shut and gloated quietly when she finally found it, knowing that I was right all along. She took several measurements of it and trotted off to show the radiologist.

Again I waited less than 5 minutes, but it was 5 minutes of anxiety, picturing how I would tell my daughter that her mother was sick, wondering how extensive treatment would be, if I could keep working if only from home. The spot looked really tiny, how damaged would I look if they just cut it out? What decisions would I have to face and would I make the right ones?

Perky –Butt Blondie popped back in and informed me that the doctor was “convinced” it’s just a lymph node and I don’t have to do anything else until my next appointment in a year. My anxiety seemed a bit silly after that, but hey, it happens to people. It happens every day. I’m really not special enough for it not to be me. My only saving grace is that I’m not that nice of a person and only really nice people die tragic deaths so that they’re missed desperately and held up as shining examples of how one should live their life. Nobody’s going to hold me up as an example of grace or kindness or overwhelming generosity. So maybe I am safe. At least for now.

All you bitches who have been ordered to get your mammograms are now ordered by me to go get one. I did it first, without tears or an unnecessary amount of whining, which is unusual for me. So now you know.

It’s really not that bad.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

To be continued....

I was going to write about my lovely boob-squishing experience I had last week because I know everyone is dying to know what that is like. Also, I'm the first in my close group of friends to have experienced this dubitable rite of passage so I get to set the bar for complaints. ha ha.

Then my doctor called and said my results were inconclusive so I have to go back for more. Oh joy. Am I thankful for this? Oh yeah, I'm thankful it's only one boob and not both. Although it's the smaller of the two so I kind of feel like it's getting picked on.

Don't worry, I will tell all when the story is done. Also, it's totally routine. The tech even told me not to be surprised if I got called back. My doctor's office said they get five or six of these a week. Routine. Famous last word, right?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Not the Monster Under the Bed

There are some things in life that one doesn't expect or imagine will happen. Freaky things, mortifying things. Wardrobe malfunctions. Faceplants. Total oops-moments. Last night was one such occasion. And seriously, I didn't make it up. I wouldn't want to.

There has been an ongoing saga with washing machines since I moved into this house. The outgoing hose was plugged into the wrong hole. (using the wrong hole is always a bad thing.) Then I had a washing machine death. A washing machine replacement, which required a hose replacement. It's a long and boring story, the point being that for the first time in a month, I was able to wash my sheets at home yesterday.

However, sheet removal led to the discovery that my mattress was severely sagging in the middle. Really, really sagging. And here I thought Pretty Piggy Princess Puppy had lost weight. I decided that the mattress just needed to be flipped. A feat that I attempted on my own. With a king-sized mattress. I tugged, I lifted, I pulled. Said mattress was halfway off when I made a worrisome discovery. The box springs were also sagging. Which meant that the actual bed frame was broken. At this point I have seriously started to consider that there is a poltergeist in my house with a really twisted sense of humor. I had neither the energy nor the time to get to the bottom of this little debacle so I shoved the mattress back in place and left for the evening.

Later, much later in the evening, I relayed my sad little tale to some friends. Some pretty awesome friends because they offered to come home with me and put my bed back together. At midnight. How great is that? What wonderful friends I have!!

We all traipse into my room, pull of the mattress, the box springs and there are all of my boots that I shove under there, a couple of random pieces of paper, a lone sock and a book. Which everyone saw and noticed and joked about. Ha ha ha. And then I froze. I panicked. Quietly. Because also, under my bed, next to my nightstand, is Tom. Yes, Tom is my vibrator. I didn't name him, he came that way. For once I was grateful for having dogs to hide things from because he was safely put away in his nondescript white box. But I knew he was there. In plain sight. Next to him was a bag of other fun, assorted goodies in a not-so-nondescript bag. Oh shit.

Upon inspection, it was discovered that the "foot" of the bed frame had broken off and wasn't reattaching in a very safe, secure way. "Do you have any two-by-fours?" Um, no. Because I've never thought of any situation in which a two-by-four would improve my life. I just don't keep them on hand. Because there were two English teachers in my room, one of them asked if I have any books I don't really care about anymore. Yes! I had a bag in the garage that I was planning on taking to the used bookstore. They were promptly used to fortify the bottom of the frame until someone else who actually has two-by-fours can bring them in for stronger fortification.

MG was concerned about another part of the frame and asked if I had any high heels that could be used. Excuse me??? "No!! Shoes are NOT construction materials." As if. And THEN, I watched in horror as I saw him reach for Tom's nondescript box cover. Noooooooo!!!!! As casually as I could, I reached over MG and removed the box from his grasp, hoping I really looked casual and that I wasn't actually using my inside-my-head voice in an inappropriate manner and that I wouldn't really knock him across the room trying to get to Tom before he did.

All turned out to be well, everything was put back in its proper place, some jokes were made about how I can now only have "subdued" sex in my bed. Missionary-style only, little movement, ha ha ha.

This morning MC remarked how funny it all was. "Isn't it funny how you had two married men and me in your bedroom at midnight?" Oh, but she didn't know the half of it. But now she does. And so do you.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The G-Rated Version of How I Scored

I write lots and tons and loads about how hard it is being a mom. Me: Whine, whine, whine. You: I think you are totally hot and props for being a single mom and all, but stop with the whining already!

Well, you will be very happy to know that this post isn’t going down like that. This one is all about how great I am, although I am knocking on wood at the same time because I realize it can all be taken away if I am too smug. But I’m hardly ever smug (at least about my parenting), so I’m going to brag just a little bit. And then we can go back to my regularly scheduled whining. Or we can talk about Baby Jeebus. Because he is starting to grow!

So, a couple of weeks ago Bugabooga sat down on the couch with a towel on her head and asked, “You know what?” to which my typical response is “Chicken butt.” Then she said, “You know how I used to hate you?” Yes, there was a point in time where my child hated me. And she told me about it. And why. I’d rather not dwell on it. Anyhoo, I said “What? Back to the hate again? Why must you torment me? I’m just sitting here watching Desperate Housewives!!” And then I was given the absolute best gift any child can give their parent. (Unless of course she became super rich and famous and bought me a 7,000 square-foot mansion. Yes, I can be bought. I’m not proud of it. Actually, I might be.)

This is what she said (it deserves its own paragraph): “Well, I used to hate you. But now I realize you are just a single mom doing your best and you’re hard on me because you want me to do well. I know you’re doing your best and I love you. I’m glad you’re my mom.”

And then I got all teary and she asked if I was going to cry and I said yes and she asked why and I said “Mommies don’t like to hear that their babies hate them!” Because I was still stuck on that part. But also because I didn’t know what else to say. It was like one of those movie moments and she had just said the most perfect, most wonderful thing that I never in my life expected and I didn’t have anything equally poignant and meaningful to reply with. And I didn’t want to blow the moment, but I kind of did, but then I thanked her. It was the best I could do.

Exhibit B: Yesterday she got out of school early so I took her to lunch and she BROUGHT HER HOMEWORK IN so we could discuss her English project. I convinced her to switch to honors, promising I would help her, so she wanted to ask if she was on the right track for her book report. In my usual way, I told her to make sure she sounded smart and put more thought into it and to make it sound like she really knew what she was talking about. Especially since I thought the book she read was kind of shallow and simplistic. And then she showed me.

She has to put 5 items related to the book in some type of container, also related to the book. I suggested a purse or a backpack, but she came up with the makeup bag on her own. “Because it’s like they’re really pretty and they wear makeup but it also hides who they really are and all of the secrets they keep. It’s like a mask they’re hiding behind because they’re not really so pretty. And the bag represents the shell they hide in.” Oh. My. God. I was so proud of her I could have peed my pants. But that would have ruined our lunch.

Of course 30 minutes later she was telling me I was ruining her life because I wanted to take her to my friends’ house for dinner. Well, win some, lose some. And lately my wins are bigger than my losses. Go me!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Lessons Learned

Bugabooga and I went to San Francisco this past weekend to do her school-clothes shopping. Because I’m cool like that. And also because I had spent every night of the year so far in Bend and needed to get out of the state. Portland wasn’t far enough away. It’s also still in Oregon.

Anyway, I learned a few things on this trip; it turned out to be quite educational. Also exhausting.

Here’s the top 20:

1. Driving to San Francisco is NOT an 8-hour trip. More like 10.
2. Car accidents can create interesting cross-sections on Volvo trunks.
3. Napa’s beautiful scenery can be marred. Mostly by political campaign signs. Boo.
4. Napa is really beautiful when it’s foggy.
5. Little boys like to head-butt each other.
6. My child notices and delights in men flirting with me.
7. Gay men really do lisp.
8. Homeless people are amusing.
9. The entire population of San Francisco really loves the Giants. Obnoxiously so.
10. Freeways do not go through the city, they all go around it. This makes finding one very difficult.
11. Accidentally driving into the strip-joint part of town with your teenage daughter is a little jarring.
12. The best sushi restaurants are patronized by real Japanese people.
13. Five-year-old boys can be a little perverted. But in a make-you-pee-your-pants-laughing kind of way.
14. Redding is the Bible belt of the west coast. Every talk station was preaching it up. Except the one talking about what to do after having an abortion. Both were too extreme for me.
15. It’s best not to order a Manhattan in a Mexican restaurant. Even if they have it on the menu.
16. The Costco liquor department rocks.
17. Umbrellas don’t keep you dry.
18. College roommates are friends forever.
19. I look a thousand times better at 40 than I did at 20. At least a hundred times better. Or ten. The point is, I don’t want my 20-year-old body back. Or my 20-year-old hair. Also – hairdressers are totally worth it.
20. Friends who make you dinner when you get home after a long drive are gold.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Random Nothingness

I don't know what my problem was last week, but I was totally hyper and ADD and couldn't shut up, as evidenced by the plethora of my posts. Because three in a month is a plethora for me.

This week? I got nothin'.

These are my current random thoughts that aren't even worth reading, but at least I'm doing you a favor by just listing them instead of trying to write a whole post about any one of them.

Cramps are stupid. Also? My boobs are kinda huge right now which only pisses me off because it's totally wasted right now.

Last week I was obsessed with Mexican food. This week it's risotto.

I will be ever so glad when this conference is over. As long as I don't completely embarrass myself in my presentation it will be a win. At this point, I will settle for not falling down in front of people.

It's been a year since I talked to my mom on the phone. Anyone else think that's a problem?

Anal co-workers are annoying.

Dexter this season is making me want to bake him chocolate chip cookies and watch Disney movies with him with lots of pillows and blankets.

I miss nap time.

I kinda feel like I need a really good cry but my Lexapro won't let me.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Miracles of Baby Jeebus. My Baby Jeebus.

Monday my boobs hurt all day. Boob pain in the absence of my least favorite monthly event. Curious.

Yesterday I was nauseous unless I was eating. Just like when I was pregnant. Curiouser.

Today I have been starving all day, even with my parmesan-bagel-with-cream-cheese-breakfast-of-champions. Curiouser and curiouser.

The only logical conclusion is that I have conceived immaculately. Because I highly doubt that the last sperm to invade my body was able to survive for the last three months. Nope. It’s Immaculate Conception. I’m special. I’m Chosen.

And how cool is that? I will have my very own Baby Jeebus!! A Baby Jeebus to turn my water into wine. Or vodka. Or whatever else I, as the Modern Madonna, choose to imbibe on any given evening.

I will have my very own little miracle-worker in my house! Maybe he can make the dogs stop farting. Forever. I could quit my job because we’d be traveling around the world performing all kinds of miracles. I would be the most awesome stage-mom in all the world. I don’t think there are many lepers left in the world, so maybe he can take on AIDS. And fix the economy. And multiply my shoes. Rescuing all of the homeless puppies in the world would be good. Homeless people, too, if he has time after fixing global warming and saving all the polar bears. No raising of the dead though. We all know how that really turns out, thanks to Pet Semetary.

Family dinners would be a whole other thing altogether. Can you imagine Christmas at my house? Brings a whole new meaning to sibling rivalry, doesn’t it?

Oh well, at least Baby Jeebus can heal my stretch marks after he’s born.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

How I Want My Funeral and Anyone Who Breaks a Rule Will Get Their Ass Haunted

I ended up in the most boring meeting ever. Ever. I thought I would die of boredom. Seriously die.

Which led me to start thinking what would happen if I really did die and what I would want my funeral to be like and I know not enough people really think about that, they just keel over without leaving instructions for their loved ones. Then people just stand around crying because they don’t know what else to do and that sounds really sad but also super boring.

So I got the great idea to tell you all exactly how I want my funeral to be. See how nice I am? Now, all you have to do is follow my instructions or I’ll haunt your asses for the rest of your lives.

1. No crying. I mean, I want to know that you’ll miss me and your lives will never be the same without me, but do it on your own time. My funeral will be like my birthday, it’s all about Me and what I want and I want only tears of laughter on my deathday.

2. You all must wear the most fabulous pairs of shoes that you own. If you don’t own any that would meet my standards, go buy a pair now. I don’t care what else you wear, you can wear pajamas if you want, but wear some totally kick-ass Shez.

3. The viewing. I’d rather not have one. I think it’s kinda creepy to look at a dead person. It’s like watching someone sleep, which is only sweet if it’s someone you’re in love with but even that has a limit. I wouldn’t want most of you to watch me sleep, it would totally creep me out. However, if someone, say, my mom, insists on a creepy viewing, I want to be wearing my red shoes. If my red shoes are not on my feet, someone’s ass is being haunted. I don’t care what else I wear, I could be naked for all I care. Except that dead naked is bad naked, so you should probably cover me up with something. Maybe my other favorite shoes. Just surround me with them.

4. The party. Remember the no crying rule? That’s because I want my funeral to be the Biggest Party Ever. I want a DJ to play all of my favorite songs. I want you bitches to dance. Dance your asses off. Whiskey-drinking is a must. I want you all to get drunk and laugh your gorgeous faces off. Bonus points will be given for getting laid. But only if it’s totally worth it. And by worth it, I mean your lips go numb and everything inside you melts after vibrating and bouncing all over the place.

5. The food. Obviously this will have to be an all-day affair because I want all of my favorite food represented. This is not a day for diets either, people. The rule is to totally gorge yourselves. If you have to throw up to make room for more, so be it. That will probably help you keep drinking anyway. I want biscuits and gravy, eggs benny, quiche, blueberry muffins, bacon and syrup and doughnuts. There should be plenty of bread and cheeses and fondue, pastas, enchiladas, nachos, sushi, stuffed mushrooms, fried mushrooms, pizza, lobster, crab legs, tea sandwiches, watermelon, anything that comes with a sauce or that can be dipped into a sauce. I need Easy Cheese and Pringles, hush puppies, French fries and onion rings and anything else that can be fried. Dessert should include crème brulee, cheesecakes, cobblers, pinwheel cookies, chocolate anything, chocolate-covered everything, 31 flavors of ice cream and caramel cake made by MG.

6. My dogs. They have to be there. Everyone is just going to have to put up with their snorting and their farting because they’re my dogs and I won’t be around to snuggle them and spoil them anymore. They can have anything and everything to eat except for chocolate and bones that would choke them. Someone needs to give them a bath and put cute clothes on them. Remy should definitely wear a bowtie.

7. My Bugabooga. She can invite 10 of her BFF’s. Any more than that and they’ll create more drama than she can handle and that’s the only reason I’m limiting the number. She can do whatever she wants except cry. Or wear my red shoes. But she can wear my other shoes if any of them fit her. And she can wear anything out of my closet, even a Halloween costume. Make sure she dances and feels all the joy at once that she has given me over the years. Fireworks would be nice, she’s too old for a pony ride. And make sure she has her own chocolate doughnut. And tell her she’s beautiful. Because she is.

8. Ashes. I want to be cremated because there isn’t one place in the world where I want to spend all of eternity. And I certainly don’t want to be eaten by worms or weird underground spiders and I think I’d be claustrophobic. I want at least half of my ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean, preferably from a cruise ship. If anybody wants the rest of me, I want to be kept in a leopard-print urn. Please travel with me and take me places, I can’t stand the thought of sitting on someone’s fireplace or some table in the corner collecting dust. Please do not leave me stuck in Mississippi. Sorry, Mom.

9. My mom. Someone needs to tell her all of these things. Also tell her that if she puts my urn next to that damn dog’s urn, I will haunt her. I want my own fucking shrine, damn it.

10. Oh yeah, you can cuss all you want. And tell dirty jokes and be wildly inappropriate. This is not the time to be proper and those of you that really know me will know better.

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Universe Has No Sense of Humor

This is my horoscope today -

Leo - Oct. 4, 2010
Are you technically single but very deeply involved with someone, Leo? If so, don't be surprised if today you extend or receive a proposal of marriage. Recent events have brought you very close together and greatly intensified the bond between you. Your partner may want to legalize that bond. Do you? If there is even the smallest doubt, give yourself some time to think. Acting on impulse isn't a good idea right now.

Seriously? How fucked up is that? What kind of horoscope tells you that you're going to get a marriage proposal? I think this is like that episode of The Simpsons where the monkeys are writing all the fortune cookie sayings. Because this shit only makes sense if it were written by a monkey. A retarded monkey.

What-the-fuck-ever. I'm going back to real life now. Enjoy your Monday.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Never Listen to a Giraffe. Gee whiz.

I don’t wanna grow up. And it has nothing to do with Toys ‘R’ Us. (side ramble: Oh. My. God. I just realized who is responsible for the dumbing-down of America. They started it with their ‘R’ instead of ‘are’. Sure, they thought they were all clever and shit with their laziness. Geoffrey Giraffe, I am on to you!) I don’t care if they have a million toys. I couldn’t even fit a million toys in my house. Unless I got like a million checkers and covered my roof with them. Or retiled my bathroom in Scrabble tiles. I guess I could buy a million Lincoln Logs and make my own log home. Or build a mansion out of a million Barbie houses. But then I’d have to sit on tiny furniture and drink out of tiny glasses and sleep on a tiny bed and that’s just retarded.

I don’t want to grow up because being a Grown Up sucks. It’s hard. Oh, wait. Let me say that with a little whine because that's how I really feel about it. It’s haaaaaaaaaaaarrrrd (insert pout here). Growing up means paying bills and cleaning the house and going to work so that I can have money to pay bills and a house to live in. It means making dinner when I’m tired and taking care of a kid and trying to be responsible and making hard decisions and always being tired and not having enough time to play. See? Fucking Toys ‘R’ Us. Even if I did have a million damn toys, I’d never be able to play with them.

When I was a kid, I thought being a Grown Up meant I could do whatever I wanted. And I can, to a point. I can drive a car. I can drink cocktails (which is really the only redeeming part of being an adult and I never, ever want to give it up). I can get a puppy and I can eat Easy Cheese and ice cream for dinner or refuse to eat brussel sprouts (because they’re totally icky!) and I can stay up all night and I can dye my hair any shade of Strawberry Shortcake pink that I want. I can even get in my car and drive across the country never sleeping and trying ice cream in every state and dyeing my hair a new color every day and filling my car with puppies and feeding them ice cream and Easy Cheese and teaching them to bite strangers who judge me.

The downside? I can’t do all of these things whenever I want. First of all, they all take money. Nobody just gives you an ice cream cone out of the kindness of their heart (which is probably what is wrong with the world). Money requires a job. For some stupid reason, jobs frown on you when you call in because you’d rather drive around drinking cocktails and petting puppies instead of coming in to work.

I could live off of Easy Cheese and ice cream but my body isn’t 10 anymore and punishes me for that fact by turning every bite I eat into fat. Hello? Ice cream has calcium! It’s good for us! Stupid body. Being fat is definitely not something I wanted to be when I grew up.

More than this, being a Parent means you have to be a Grown Up. Even if you only pretend to be. It’s like being Spider Man, but with all the responsibility and none of the power. Hear that, Toys ‘R’ Us? I will never buy a fucking Spider Man toy because it’s all a big, fat, comic-hero-sized lie. I’m supposed to set some kind of example for my offspring. I don’t even want to think about what kind of example Spider Man is supposed to be setting in his red leotard and his climbing all over walls and shooting nasty webs out of his body. Really, Spider Man? Spider webs are so totally creepy. Dude. Seriously.

So, riddle me this, Toys ‘R’ Us. How do I afford your million toys? When do I have time to play with them? Which one of your million toys is going to earn me a million dollars? Which Barbie is going to take time out of her busy doctor/rockstar/princess schedule to help my kid with her homework and drive her to ballet? Which Teletubby is going to cook dinner for me? Oh, I’ll answer this one. None of them! Because they’re too freaky to be allowed in my house, plus they’re stuffed and my dogs would eat all of the stuffing out of them but then they’d be possessed by the Teletubby’s evil soul and that would be even worse because I love my dogs and I’d just have to live in fear of them until some” unfortunate accident” removed their presence from my life.

Yep. Being a Grown Up sucks. Bills suck. Responsibility sucks. Most jobs suck. But ice cream rocks and alcohol is delicious. Guess what I’m doing tonight? Yup. Because I can. Neener neener.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

How Not to Start Your Day

1. Try on all of your jeans hoping one pair will fit and not squeeze you out of the top of them. What? Did they all shrink over the summer? This is why I like summer clothes better. Aside from the bikini, they’re actually more forgiving. Jeans are evil.

2. Eat a slice of banana bread. With chocolate chips. Hell, why not? You’re already feeling like a giant fat-ass.

3. Eat said slice of banana bread while driving. Think that you’re sufficiently stopped in the line of cars waiting to go through the roundabout, but find out you’re not when you bump the car in front of you.

4. Make sure it’s a Porsche that you hit.

Yes, this was my morning. Yes, I hit a car. Bumped it, really. Bumped it enough to see it move, but it was just a tap. Even Mr. Porsche Driver wasn’t sure that I hit him. I had hoped he wouldn’t notice, then saw him start to pull over. Oh, shit, he did notice! No, he kept driving, he didn’t notice. Shit, he’s pulling over again! In the roundabout. No, I’m not stopping in the roundabout. Let’s find a parking lot for our little rendezvous.

I pull over in a parking lot where we won’t have an audience. He has a small girl-child in the front seat. Great. I hit a kid. Wait a minute, small children aren’t supposed to ride in the front seat! Isn’t he breaking some kind of child safety law? I know, Porsches don’t have backseats, but still. Surely that makes him more of a criminal than me with my little tap to his bumper.

He gets out. “It had to be the Porsche!” Yes, I noticed that you’re driving a Porsche. Yes, it is far superior to my Honda Civic, circa 2000, circa turn-of-the-century. Thanks for stating the obvious. He asks if I hit him. Um, is this a trick question?? He says he thought he popped the clutch. A quick moral dilemma argument goes on in my head but I tell the truth. After all, I want my Karma to come back to me in the form of lottery winnings, not cancer in my face.

He examines his bumper. Not a scratch, not a ding, nothing. He examines my front bumper. With the huge scratch from the bike that hit me earlier this year. And all of the dead bugs. And the chipped paint. How white trash do I feel in this moment? Damn, I knew I should have washed my car this weekend.

I apologize. He smiles, says, “See ya. Thanks for stopping.” No exchange of information, no further humiliation.

Although, if he had been cute and didn’t have a small child in his front seat (thereby endangering her life), I would have given him my number. You know, just in case.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

On Her Way

My daughter starts high school today. My bugabooga. My lovebug. My munchiekins. My baby girl, who laughed so easily, walked so late, and spent more naps with me in the rocking chair than in her crib. My little girl, whose first word after “Mama” was “shoe.” Who, at the age of six had had more boyfriends than I have had, still, at age 40. Yeah, see where I’m going with this? It’s scary. She’s grown up too fast.

The last couple of weeks I have spent most days wanting to strangle her. She gets her anxiety from her father, worrying about whether the milk has gone bad or if chicken nuggets will poison her. I was really tempted by the end of last week to start crushing up my Lexapro into her meals without her knowing. “What if I don’t have any friends in my classes?” “What if I can’t find my class?” “My binders and folders have to match and be cute.” “I don’t want to get bullied.” And the new one yesterday – “I don’t want to get shot.” Endless worry on her part, frayed nerves on mine.

Last week we got her schedule and, of course, had to immediately get it changed since they’d somehow missed assigning her to biology. This only set her off about how stupid the school was and how she didn’t want to go. It didn’t help that her counselor mispronounced her name as “Divine”, which embarrassed her as much as it delighted me and I have vowed to call her that from now on. She hates me for it. By that night, she did a complete one-eighty and was ready to start school. Last night she went from dreading this morning to being completely prepared and calm. She even remarked how quickly her moods are changing. Yeah, I’ve got my own neuroses to deal with, I can’t keep up with hers too.

This morning she set her alarm for 5:30. And got up. On her own. Before me. By the time I got out of the shower, her bed was already made. She was smiling, not sulking, her usual morning demeanor. Color me impressed with a shade of surprised. Until I learned that she ate a hot dog bun for breakfast. Yep. At 14, my child is incapable of making a halfway decent breakfast for herself. She still needs me after all. Me and my chocolate chip pancakes.

I hugged her at least three times before she left to catch the bus. Hugged her until she rolled her eyes, squirmed just a bit and said, “Mom, I’m going to be late.” I watched her walk away, closed the door and cried.

I hope she forgives me for the “I love you” note that I snuck into her lunch.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Boobs, Booze and Dancing Shoes

These are the ingredients to a successful birthday party. Specifically a 40th birthday party. Especially the booze part. Except cute shoes are also necessary. And the boobs? Well, they’re just always with me. Also, I was told they were fondled at some point during the soiree.

Recently, I turned 40. I didn’t know what to expect, I thought I would wake up feeling wise and no longer worried about things like the roll that is my stomach or how my butt looks in my jeans. The night before, I felt like I was supposed to perform some kind of ritual to prepare myself for my impending adulthood, before becoming a Woman of a Certain Age. I was excited about it; it felt like the start of a new adventure, a new chapter, turning over a new leaf and every other cliché that exists. Instead, after hearing from my daughter about what a complete failure I am as a parent and balancing my checkbook only to find that I still have no money, I was just depressed. 40, single and broke. So much for being a Grown Up.

The next day, on my actual birthday, I breakfasted at Chow with my bestie, AKA The Wife. Eggs Benny and a Bloody Mary – what better way to start the day? This yumminess was followed by pedicures, fro yo, a trip to the farmer’s market, a visit with a peacock, shrimp, chocolate cake and martinis with cute little umbrellas. It was the perfect way to spend the day, with the Big Party to follow on the weekend.

As for the actual party, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my 40th. My wonderful friends provided their home for the festivities, a co-worker friend offered to DJ (all 80’s music, of course!) and The Wife got the most perfect cake ever in the entire world – leopard print with a pink ribbon. Chocolate. With a raspberry filling.

The night before I made all of the food, so on party day I just had to show up in my cute outfit, complete with matching pedicure, and greet my guests with cocktail in hand. The “bar” was quickly filled with rum, vodka, champagne, margaritas and wine. The food table held four types of lasagna, two kinds of homemade garlic bread, a Carla salad and various other snacky goodies. The rest of the night is a happy blur of feasting, dancing, drinking, laughing and finding out what people think they know about me (no, my favorite book isn’t the Bible, I didn’t major in business, booze or boys, my favorite drink is not milk and The Sound of Music was an excellent guess and I really should have given a point for that one).

There are tons of details but relaying them here just isn’t the same experience so I will just leave it at this – I have the best friends in the world and there aren’t words for what this night meant to me. I felt joy and love and absolute soul-satisfaction.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of that night, who showed up to be a part of my life.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I bought a bird feeder because I like watching little chirpy things with feathers bounce around tweeting at each other. And tweeting in the real sense, not in the social media sense. Then again, who knows what modern technology they have hidden in their nests? I’m picturing a trap door that leads into a secret room in a tree branch, complete with secret spy cameras to watch us all in preparation of their world takeover. Which begs the question of why I’m even feeding the little feathery fuckers in the first place, but maybe they’ll remember and spare my life when they begin their world domination instead of pecking my eyeballs out with the rest of mankind. Hitchcock already predicted this, remember? They’ve just been waiting for their technology to catch up. Anyway, I digress. I seriously digress.

My yard is suspiciously devoid of trees or branches or really any hangy things to dangle a cute little bird feeder from. There is one little plant hanger in front of my kitchen window and I thought it would be delightful to watch the little birdies flit around while I wash dishes, so there it went. Until I realized that, with the windows always open, they always hear me and fly away before I can enjoy them. All I get to see is a stupid bird feeder swinging back and forth. Dumb.

Also? Those little buggers are messy! They drop half of their food all over my front porch, with a rather large proportion of it falling on my patio chair. Sitting on birdseed isn’t really as comfortable as the naughty birds probably want you to think. However, I was okay with wiping off the chair and sweeping the patio, until – I discovered that they don’t only drop food during their mealtime perches. Yes, ladies and germs, they feel perfectly at ease pooping on said chair and patio. Gross.

Of course after deciding that the feeder had to come down, I finally spotted a little birdie creature eating. Of course. It’s like he knew what I was thinking. “Don’t take it down, look how cute I am. I’m small and feathery and my chest is this pretty blush color, which is kind of like pink, but blends in with my brown feathers better. And listen – I’m chirping so cutely to invite my friends to display their cuteness too. Cheep, cheep, cute cheep!” Yes, he was a dastardly little bastard, but I was not swayed by his uber cuteness. Poop, people. I already have two dogs pooping in the back yard, I don’t need more poop in the front. The feeder came down, the chair was wiped off and the porch was swept. The bird feeder? I just set it at the back of the patio until I decide what to do with it.

Later, as I was relaxing with a Manhattan and waiting for the impending thunderstorm, I heard some cheeping. Not cute cheeping, angry cheeping. Followed by fffffffttt, the flutter of angry wings. Not really fluttering, more like mad beating. It’s a good thing I’ve just been feeding little finch things and not something like an eagle or a turkey buzzard. Little Mr. Bird Turd hopped around where I had swept the seeds, looked at me, flew up to the roof, then ffffftttt’ed some more. Actually, he fffffftttt’ed a lot. It sounded kind of like a “fuck you” in feather-flight speak. He did find the feeder on the corner of the patio so I’m hoping he’s satisfied with that for a while.

Although now that I think of it, I’ve just put him right at cat-snack level. Damn, I’m going to have to move it before I’m added to the pecked-out-eyes list during the Bird Apocalypse.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Second Best. Maybe.

I knew it. I knew I would jinx it this year, me and my big mouth. Or fat fingers, or however this little blog of mine gets expressed. No, this year’s 4th of July was not better than last year’s, but it was still good and now it seems like I have this weird tradition to tell you everything I did, ate and drank. Prepare to be wowed by my exciting life. Or not. Whateva!

Friday –
What I did -
Worked. See how the weekend is already starting out lame? And it was cold, because summer is a very fickle lover this year. I’m not sure what’s up his butt. Anyway, after work J and I went to Art Walk which began an evening of the most delightful, unexpected surprises. We fell in love with some paintings and, after meeting the artist and learning she does commissions, I MUST. HAVE. ONE. Seriously. They are creepy and haunting and whimsical and touching and overall just unforgettable. My underlying, obsessive thought all weekend was how I must commission this talent to paint a picture of me and my dogs. I might need to sell my liver to be able to pay for one. Or a dog’s liver since they haven’t yet ruined theirs with daily alcohol consumption.

So, on to the next surprise. We were hungry, I was hung over from the previous night’s bourbon extravaganza. We wandered around for a while and found ourselves in front of the menu for Lola’s. I’d never been there before, but there was mac and cheese on the menu. Plus the owner has a bulldog (which the restaurant is named after.) How can you go wrong with mac and cheese and a bulldog named Lola? You can’t. The icing on the cake was the Bloody Marys. Oh, and the oh-so-adorable pictures of Lola and her babies on the wall. We met Amy, the owner, and oohed and aahed over all of the sweet puppy faces. Oh yeah – we had to make fun of the guy singing. It wasn’t his voice that was so entertaining, but the fact that he sang the theme song to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air all emo-style. If I hadn’t been so dehydrated, I probably would have peed my pants.

What I ate –
Lola’s house mac and cheese, crusty goat salad, crème brulee. (I know there was some kind of lunch at some earlier point in the day, but it must have been really uninteresting since I don’t remember it.)

What I drank –
Water, water and more water. Diet Coke, a Cabo Bloody Mary and a whiskey robber.

Saturday –
What I did –
Another day of not-so-great weather. J and I made the best of it by staying in our pajamas, watching movies and eating all day. And snuggling with dogs who could not believe their luck at being snuggled all day and being fed morsels of cheese. Ruby showed her gratitude by eating poop and being banished to her crate overnight.

What I ate –
Easy cheese and Pringles, cheese and bread, peanut butter M&Ms and pizza.

What I drank –
Two glasses of wine, two Cosmos.

What I did –
Woke up early and not hung over! Woo hoo! Met J, M, and M’s friend for coffee and an ocean roll at Lone Pine. Mmmm…. ocean roll……. What? Oh yeah, sorry about that, got a little distracted. After our heavenly breakfast, we went to the pet parade where my hand cramped from taking so many pictures of so many cute dogs. Bostons, Frenchies, Bulldogs, Boxers (all of my smushy-faced favorites!), pit bulls, Dalmatians, German Shepards, Chihuahua, Corgis, Labs, Poodles, oh my!! Dogs in costumes, dogs in “makeup”, flying dogs and barking dogs and even dogs that looked like chickens and horses. Such clever disguises those were! Next came wandering around Drake Park, molesting every Boston Terrier and Frenchie I could find and even a sweet little SharPei whose owner I loved because he rescued her just before she was about to be put down. J found a home for her foster dog, Daphne, who went to live in her new home in Washington. I think her new daddy was already in love with her. I bought pepper plants – jalapenos, pepperoncinis, banana peppers, hotties, some chocolate things, and a couple more I’d never heard of. Relaxed at Les Schwab listening to the free concert where the band sang about G-spots, sugar walls and included Jesus and teddy bears in a “gospel” song. Awesome. Went to J and J’s house to eat, drink and be terrified climbing onto the roof to watch the fireworks. That is one little activity that will not be repeated next year.

What I ate –
Ocean roll, cheese pizza, chicken, ribs, steak, pineapple, watermelon, cucumber salad, cherry pie and vanilla ice cream.

What I drank –
Double-shot mocha, water, whiskey and coke with lime.

Monday –
Still not warm enough to float. Fed chipmunks, bought soil for my peppers, planted my peppers, pulled the weeds that my kid missed while doing her chore. BBQ’d, sat by the fire pit, took pictures of the flames, watched bats dance in the sky. Ruined my exceptionally, surprisingly sober weekend by inventing the world’s Best Manhattan Ever. Suffice it to say that maraschino cherries are for the birds and fresh cherries are where it’s at, baby!

What I ate –
Breakfast potatoes, fried eggs, leftover pizza, steak, salad, cherries.

What I drank -
Orange juice, water, whiskey and coke, Best Manhattan(s) Ever.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

My Gadabout Adventure

I work with a couple of people who own a side business in addition to their regular day jobs. They are a couple as in there are two of them but they’re also married. My workplace is a little unusual that way. The husband was expected to be out of town on company business, so I was asked to fill in as hostess on a few trips for said side business during his absence. His company business has been postponed, but they asked me along yesterday to get some on-the-job hostess training while they took out a small group. I was really glad I was invited.

Robin and Danita have been operating Gadabout Serene Adventures for at least a couple of years now. I’ve known about it but didn’t realize how really cool it is. Although their trips and tours are catered to seniors, anyone is welcome. (Anyone who wants to pay, of course.) What’s included? Everything. Danita normally acts as hostess and serves breakfast, drinks and snacks. Meals are included as well as overnight lodging on trips lasting more than a day. Transportation is provided to each destination, the only extra money needed is for souvenirs. Wine, in my case.

I was invited to go along on the wine tasting trip. What? Wine tasting instead of working? Oh no, I couldn’t possib – oh, alright, twist my arm! Damn my lush reputation! The trip included lunch at our first stop at King Estate Winery near Eugene, followed by visits at Sweet Cheeks Winery and Silvan Ridge Winery. Yeah, more about the Sweet Cheeks name later.

We left Bend at 7 a.m. and picked up a few more customers in Sisters. It ended up being a small group of just seven, which was okay with me for my first time. Robin and Danita have several regular customers and three of them came along, plus one new couple and Danita’s parents. On the way to Eugene, I helped serve breakfast rolls and drinks. There’s a really good reason that I don’t wait tables. Ask one person what they want to drink, and promptly forget while asking the second person. Seniors are generally forgiving, or at least he pretended not to mind. We played Bingo (because that’s what old people do) and they won small prizes. Easy breezy.

We arrived at King Estates Winery ahead of schedule but they were more than accommodating with our lunch reservation. King Estates provides both lunch and dinner and had narrowed down their menu for our tour group, printing special menus just for us. I saved a couple of them because I always save stuff like that. I also like to take pictures of my food and drinks, which I think everyone else found amusing, if not odd. Don’t judge me, old people.

Lunch started with drinks, but not wine, because that was for later. The new couple ordered Chardonnay sodas, which I had never heard of, but then I had to order my own after seeing their cute little fizzy bottles. Yes, I took a picture. Our menu choices were an albacore salad, roast chicken with spinach and mushrooms or a hanger steak with fingerling potatoes. The descriptions on the menu were better than mine, but whatever. Use your imagination, they all sounded scrumptious. Being the carnivorous meat-eater that I am, I ordered the hanger steak. It was cooked perfectly and the potatoes were yummy and there was a little pat of garlic butter that I used my third piece of bread for so I could use it all up. I sopped up everything on my plate with every piece of bread I could find. Oh, but I took a picture first. It was all nomalicous.

Our dessert choices were either a bread pudding (again with a really tasty description I can’t recall) or a flourless chocolate cake with pistachio ice cream. It was a toss-up because I love chocolate cake, but I’m not crazy about pistachio ice cream. On the other hand, the bread pudding had some kind of rum or amaretto or some other boozy yumminess in it, but bread pudding can be soggy and weird sometimes. I chose the chocolate cake and you know what? I was wrong. I love pistachio ice cream! Especially when paired with a gigantic slice of super-rich, super nommy cake! Oh, heavenly day!! Yes, I remembered to take a picture before diving into my sin-on-a-plate. My very sweet neighbor offered her bread pudding up for a picture AND a bite. Bonus!! And I was wrong again (I hate when that happens) because it was incredibly warm, sweet, soft, flavorful and not at all soggy.

Lunch was followed by a tour of the winery where we learned how they make their most popular varieties, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We saw the crush pad where the grapes are first brought in, the giant steel barrels they are fermented in and the wooden kegs the wine is aged in. I am always amazed at how scientific the wine-making process really is. There was all this talk about yeast and microbes and some kind of tartar clay and how they keep from getting foggy wine or ice crystals and some wines are allowed to heat up while others need to be kept cold. It’s a lot more than just picking some grapes and squeezing them into a glass. Of course that would just be called grape juice but you get the idea.

After the tour, we bellied up to the bar for some wine tasting. Our tour guide doubled as our bartender/sommelier and served us tastings of their Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and a dessert wine. I wasn’t as impressed with the wines as I was with the lunch. They weren’t bad, just a little dry for my taste and Pinot Gris isn’t really my favorite anyway. I did buy a bottle of Riesling though, because the description on the bottle says it has flavors of ginger and citrus. I like ginger. I like citrus. They better not be lying.

Next, it was on to Sweet Cheeks Winery, whose Riesling Danita was raving over since we left Bend. Now, about the name. If you know me at all, you can guess what kind of image the name Sweet Cheeks conjures for me. Well, when the winery owners saw the hills that the vineyard is planted on, they saw the same thing. How can you resist a wine with a name like that?

The aforementioned Riesling that was raved over is very good, but I ended up getting a bottle of the Rosy Cheeks (which brings to mind another image but my mind is a dirty place to live). They also had some delicious-sounding cheeses and the most wonderfully whimsical paintings on their walls. I took pictures of all of those too. I would have bought one if I’d had an extra two or three hundred dollars on me.

Our last winery stop was Sylvan Ridge, across the street from Sweet Cheeks. Obviously they were less imaginative in the naming of their wines, but not less skilled in the making of their wines. Of course the $40 Elizabeth’s Red was my favorite, but I settled on the less expensive Muscat. It’s perfectly yummy enough.

On the way home, Danita told me that they usually play a movie, but I think most everyone was content to doze off after their day of wine tasting. I couldn’t help sneaking in my own little cat nap after helping to serve non-alcoholic, re-hydrating beverages and snacks to the guests.

All in all it was a great day and a great way to play “hooky” from work. Robin and Danita are so wonderfully easy-going with their guests yet utterly professional. They have planned for so many of the little details I think it makes it easy for everyone to relax and have a really excellent adventure. Much better than Bill and Ted could have done.

As for me, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Robin is out of town in October so I can go on the Hearst Castle trip. I’ve always wanted to go there, but I’ll console myself with some Rosy Cheeks if it doesn’t pan out.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ode to Bugabooga

My daughter's birthday is today and she graduated from middle school last night. A double whammy with unexpected emotions. Well, I expected to be sentimental and sappy on her birthday, because I always am, but not over graduation.

I didn't even want to go. It was presented as a short ceremony with a party for the graduates afterward. I only went because I had to. I mean, what kind of mom doesn't go to her only child's graduation? Only the kind of mom that I myself would judge harshly. So I went. Begrudgingly.

It wasn't so fun and made me crabby. I parked a mile away and thanked myself for having the sense to not wear heels on my trek to the school. It was crowded and hot in the gym and completely unorganized. I found a spot against the wall to lean on since there were no chairs left. D had gone to a friend's to get ready so I didn't get a chance to see her beforehand and then searched in vain to catch a glimpse of her in the sea of 8th graders. I saw her friends, but not her. I started to wonder if she was even there.

The principal came out and gave what is probably his standard speech. "This is the best group of 8th graders we've ever had, blah, blah blah." Then they showed a video of all the kids that prompted screams and cheers from the entire 8th grade class. My ears were ringing halfway through. It was a long video. Did I mention how hot it was in there?

When Principal What's-His-Name came back up to the microphone, it was to tell the kids some tired old adages that were probably meant to be inspirational, but just sounded cliche. "Make your own choices. Be the change you want to see in the world. Blah, blah, blah." Is this thing over yet? Then he gave his blessing or official promotion or whatever "on behalf of the Board of Education" and I got all teary. Wtf?

The kids were then dismissed and I finally located D at the end of the line on her way out the door. I hurried after her and was greeted with a quick "Hi Mom" followed by the I'm-really-too-busy-to-talk-to-you-because-my-friends-are-more-important-in-my-life-than-you look. I had to practically beg her to allow me to take a quick picture of her. "But Mom! My friends!" "Please? It's your graduation! I have to have a picture of you in your cute dress!" (that I paid for, by the way.) She finally acquiesced before scampering off again to rejoin her friends for the dance.

I hiked back to my car, sat in my seat and broke down in tears. Sobbed. Because she "rejected" me. Because she's growing up. Because I'm proud of her. Because I love her. Because I was alone and had nobody to share my emotions with.

I had to go buy her a birthday card and some doughnuts for her birthday breakfast. (I had planned on making her something special, but yeah. Right. Like I'm preparing specialty meals before six in the morning. Sure...) Reading the cards made me cry. Choosing the right kind of doughnuts made me cry. I was walking around Walmart crying. People were giving me weird looks. We're talking the weird Walmart-type people. Like they have any right to judge. I was an emotional wreck. It's a good thing I know how to make a good Manhattan because I needed it.

This morning when she woke up, the dogs and I dazzled her with a medley of birthday songs. I knew she was disappointed with just a card (even though it was the most heartfelt card I've ever bought for ANYone) until I told her that I couldn't wrap ballet tickets and a pedicure. "We're getting pedis??!?!?!? Where's the ballet? What are they performing?" She was suddenly awake and interested in her day. And in me. Briefly.

Then she hit me with it. I knew she couldn't just Accept. She also has to Take. Us moms know that any sentence that begins with "Since it's my birthday" doesn't mean they want to express their undying love and gratitude to you for all of the sacrifices you make and do or don't use to guilt trip them with. "How about you drive me to school and we get Starbucks on the way?" Oh, what the hell. A coffee sounded good to me too. I got my revenge. As she was getting out of the car in front of the school I yelled, "Happy birthday Bugabooga!! I LOVE YOU!!!" That's about the meanest thing you can do to your kid. Bwah ha ha.....

I know I complain a lot about her and parenting and how hard it is. It is hard. And I have legitimate complaints. And it's the nature of the beast of motherhood. But she's actually a cool kid. She's fun and smarter than I give her credit for. At some things. Not at using the vacuum when she forgets to plug it in and then claims it doesn't work.

She's sassy the way a girl should be. This morning she said she was going to wear her short shorts, the ones that aren't allowed in school. She said, "What are they going to do, bust me on the last day?" I was so proud. She has an excellent sense of humor. She's genuinely caring even though she makes it so easy to forget when 90% of what comes out of her mouth is about her.

On the way to get our coffee, the morning radio show was discussing websites that coach you on how to talk to your teenagers, how to express your feelings in their language. Seriously? Parents need this? I know D was thinking the same thing. I turned to her and said, "You're awesome! You rock!" She rolled her eyes and said, "Mom, don't. Just don't." She gets that eye roll from me. All the women in my family do it.

And the truth is, if I had a boy I'd probably turn him gay. It's not appropriate to take a boy to get pedicures. D's first word after "mom" was "shoe." Some people would frown at a boy doing that. I like that we can watch chick-flicks and do facials and she paints my nails. We do fashion shows when we get new clothes. We go shopping and say "Oh, that's cuuuute!" over and over all day.

Yes, I complain. I get exhausted and overwhelmed and I don't know how to do it All. There are days that I daydream about getting in my car and driving and driving, far away from it All. But I can't imagine my life without her. I can barely remember what it was like before her. And I'm terrified of what lies ahead. The things that seemed so far away when she was in diapers are frighteningly close now. Her first real kiss, her first real boyfriend, her first real heartbreak. High school graduation, going away to college, her first apartment. First job. We still have a lot of firsts left. Big ones too.

There are more frustrations to come. More tears. But also more "that's what she said" jokes. More facials, more talk about boys. More ballets and more birthdays.

More of Bugabooga. I couldn't ask for more than that.

When Booze Is Not Enough

Yes folks, it’s true. There are some pains that alcohol doesn’t take away. Not even my beloved Manhattans. Not even when they’re made with Maker’s AND include a cherry WITH a stem. There are certain hells that cannot be escaped. Teenage girls’ birthday parties fall into this category.

D’s birthday is today and I’m able to feel sentimental about it now, especially after going to her graduation last night. But that’s another story for another time. Probably tonight. Or later today, depending on how unproductive I want to be work-wise.

Anyway, this whole ordeal really started Friday night when I had to bake the cake. After spending three hours shopping for shoes to match her graduation dress, a bathing suit (excuse me, STRING bikini) for the graduation pool party and party food. I was up until 9:30 baking the famous Rainbow Cake, an encore request from last year’s party.

Saturday started with swimming at Juniper. D first begged me to stay at the pool the whole time, then dismissed me once I had paid her admission. “You can go, Mom.” “But don’t you want to know where I’ll be if you need anything?” “You can go NOW, Mom.” I didn’t see her again until she wanted something to eat. I guess her hunger rendered me useful enough to talk to. For half a minute.

Part 1 wasn’t so bad though. It was a gorgeous day and I got to lay out and soak up some rays and some very-much needed vitamin D. It was delicious and I relished every minute of it after winter and all of the rain. It wasn’t, however, enough relaxation to prepare me for Part 2.

The party then moved to the house, where 12, count them – TWELVE, teenage girls were spending the night. I’m pretty sure I only approved eight, but what’s four more? A LOT, it turns out. Twelve estrogen-filled, hormone-induced young people is too much at one time. They were too much for themselves.

They spent the first hour gossiping. I believe that teenage girls have gossiping down to a science. “So-and-so is such a slut.” “He was going out with two girls and liked a third one at the same time.” On and on it went. I learned that my daughter has perverse things said to her. “I asked him what he was doing and he said ‘you’”. (It was at this point that I poured my first drink. It was either that or bite my tongue until it bled.) I also learned that girls like to say no and that they enjoy telling boys “no.” “It’s so easy. They ask you out and you just tell them no. Ha ha ha.” No is my favorite word from teenagers. When it’s not directed at me.

I had about 45 minutes of peace after dinner was devoured (literally), which I named the Eye of the Teenage Storm. J came over, I made my second drink and the girls went to the park. The peace was short-lived.

Ruby Tuesday, my pretty piggy princess puppy, sauntered in with a wrapper hanging from her mouth and an “oh boy, that was delicious” gleam in her eye. I tracked down the source of her new-found happiness and discovered she had eaten half of a giant chocolate bar. My dog basically ate poison. Instant panic. J called her vet friend while I cleaned up the pieces of chocolate that had been licked into the carpet.

In the middle of Dog Drama, the girls arrived home. D was in tears because on the way back to the house, half of the girls had disappeared to go play doorbell ditch and she was convinced that they had all been kidnapped and turned into sex slaves (yes, I have succeeded in instilling this fear into my child). All would-be sex slaves were found and accounted for and given a screaming-tantrum lecture by D. I told her I’d have to deal with the recap of her ordeal another time as I had to first make sure the dog would live. Her reply? “Well then can we have cake now?” Oh yes, of course. I want to get out chocolate cake RIGHT NOW, THIS INSTANT AFTER MY DOG JUST POISONED HERSELF WITH CHOCOLATE!!! In one of my finer moments of motherhood, I let fly the F word. In front of 11 kids that aren’t mine.

In the end the cake was served, complete with candles and a song, I tricked Ruby into drinking hydrogen peroxide, which induced a ginormous amount of vomiting and retired to my room with my laptop and another Manhattan. All was good. Or at least nobody died. Or called the police on me. Or I didn’t run out of alcohol and call the police on myself if only to spend a quiet night in jail.

Needless to say, nobody got much sleep.

If some of you can benefit from this wonderful, never-to-be-repeated experience, here’s my advice.

1. Have either a slumber party or a pool party, but not both. Bringing 12 sunburned, hungry teenagers to your house is just asking for trouble.

2. 12 teenage girls is too many. About 7 too many. They can’t control their own hormones, let alone everyone else’s. The drama just multiplies exponentially. Also – girls can be mean and will form groups against each other. Even when they’re friends.

3. Keep chocolate away from dogs. At all times. Always. If you’re not smart enough to follow this simple rule, at least be smart enough to keep some hydrogen peroxide on hand.

4. Teenage girls eat a lot. A LOT. I suppose I should be happy that none of them have unhealthy body issues but I kinda wish they did. They were asking for seconds before they even started on their first plate. They called thirds on cinnamon rolls before they took the first bite of the first one. They’re like locusts, swooping in and leaving nothing in their wake. They will literally fight each other for a piece of bread. Be prepared to feed an army. It’s not cheap.

5. Trick a friend who doesn't have kids into coming over to keep you company. Your friends with kids will know better.

6. Finally and most importantly – make sure you have alcohol on hand and plenty of it. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t heed this advice, all I can say is you’re digging your own grave and it’s been nice knowing you. Teenage girls are vicious and will eat you alive if you are not sufficiently numbed to their evil influences.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Prayers for Kyron

I’m not quite sure what has touched me about Kyron Horman, missing since Friday, June 4th. Granted, it’s my worst nightmare, but dozens of children go missing each day. Maybe it’s because he went missing in Oregon and it touches too close to home. Maybe it’s because his disappearance seems to have struck the same chord with the media and those searching for him. Maybe it’s because he just looks so innocent and so tiny, with his big glasses and gap-toothed smile, his friendly and utterly open expression. Whatever it is, I can’t ignore it. I check the news reports constantly, hoping for the happy news that he’s found. Safe. And soon. Very soon.

I think the first impulse was to blame the school. What were their security measures? Did they allow just anyone to walk in and snatch up this little child? How could they make it so easy? My opinion may be unpopular, but I don’t think it’s fair to blame the school, or the teachers or school systems in general. They’re already overburdened. True, we entrust them with our children every day and there is a certain level of expectation that we’re leaving them in a safe place. But it doesn’t start with the schools.

The overwhelming burden is on each of us as a member of society. In a country where voting is our right, we have to ensure that the laws on child predators are stricter and enforced each and every time. These “people” should not be walking among us freely. I don’t believe there is rehabilitation for a person who could harm and violate a child. It’s not a simple character flaw, it’s not a minor offense. Abusing a child changes who they are, it changes the people around them, it bruises their very soul, forever and always.

It’s also up to us. It's a fine line. Government agencies are criticized for overreacting, or not doing enough. Not doing enough in time, before it’s too late. Again, the systems are overburdened and, although there are legitimate complaints, we share responsibility as well. Don’t mistake me, the extremes are too easy to fall into. I don’t want anyone knocking on my door asking if my daughter has done her homework or frowning when I have a glass of wine. I don’t want to overstep my bounds with my neighbor and how they discipline (or sometimes worse, don’t) their own children. But I think if you have a gut feeling that something just isn’t right, you see a child and an adult who don’t look right together, a little girl looks too lost, a little boy seems too quiet for his age, tell someone. Pay attention to the man seemingly without a family in a family-centered environment. Listen to a child who asks for help. Watch for the toddler who seems to wander off a bit too far. I know if it were my child, I’d be praying that you would.

Just as I’ll be praying for the safe return of little Kyron Horman and then end of this nightmare for his parents.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Junipers Can Bite Me

I hate junipers. They’re ugly. Their green isn’t even a pretty green; I would never wear it or paint my house with it. I don’t drink gin. Junipers are the least useful, most wasted spaces of life on this planet. Worst of all, they give me allergies. They are the only thing I’m allergic to and I lived the first 30 years of my life completely allergy-free. Until I lived in Bend for seven years and developed this god-forsaken juniper allergy.

I made it through winter with only a slightly sore throat. I steered clear of the pig flu, stomach flu and any other cold-related virus. Invincibility was mine. Until spring sprung with fucking juniper pollen. I woke up the first day with burning, blurry eyes, like I’d had an all-night cry or drinking binge. I’d had neither. The next day I sat at my desk sniffling for the last two hours of the afternoon. Last night I was literally attacked by pollen while washing my face. It’s pretty pathetic to have go to bed at 9:30 at night because it hurts too bad to keep my eyes open.

Yep, I can’t truly enjoy the 60+ degree sunny days in March because I want to tear my eyeballs out of my head. The worst is when it snows AND I have out of control allergy symptoms. That’s a really special kind of hell.

I think all junipers should be eradicated. Seriously. I would run for office to become President of the United States of America just so I could burn the fuckers down and remove them permanently from the earth. I would make it illegal to grow them. Grow all the marijuana you want, but plant a single juniper seed and be put to death. Slowly and painfully.

Junipers can suck it. Hard.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

It's Final Exam Time

Last night was high school orientation for the parents of new, ingoing students. High school. The words alone make me break out into a cold sweat. High school. I absolutely shudder at the thought. I’ve always known this day was coming. I just didn’t know it was Now. And I’m much better with some ideas in theory than I am once they’re put into practice. I know D is going to high school next year, but I didn’t really “know” it until orientation made it real. Real scary.

I found myself tearing up in the auditorium during the orientation. It didn’t help that the principal and vice principal were using words like “involvement” and “insight” and reminding us parents that even though our kids might seem like they’re growing up and don’t need us as much, now is the time that they need us more than ever. We were warned to not back off.

They went on to brag about their academic success, the number of social clubs available, how well their sports teams are faring this year. They told us how classes are chosen and how students are prepared for college and, ultimately, life.

And I was holding back tears because I realized, this is It. This is the real test and I don’t think I’m ready. I feel like my life is about to go into fast forward; I’ll blink and the next four years will be over and D will be gone. I don’t know that I have the energy or the strength to get her through it. I doubt whether my parenting skills can see us both safely to the other side.

She is so excited. She’s scared too, but it’s the good kind because it’s filled with hope and wonder and a sense of adventure. She’s about to embark on a whole new journey full of friends, football games, dates and dances. She’ll face new challenges academically as well as socially and start preparing herself for real life. A real, grownup life that doesn’t include me. Not so much.

I don’t know how to prepare her for her own life. The disappointments and heartbreak I know she’ll face. The frustrations and the stress of learning how to make her way in the world. I’m most afraid because it’s all on me. I never expected or wanted to be single with a high school student. I thought I’d have a partner, a backup, someone to hold my hand and figure it out with me. I don’t even have my own life together most days, and now I have to figure this part out on my own. I hope my mistakes aren’t the kind that can’t be erased.

I wish I could share her enthusiasm and embrace this part of our lives. I wish I could know that her life will be beautiful and full of all of the happiness and love and adventure I want for her. I’m afraid the best I can do right now is take it one step at a time and learn as we go and hope that we make it in one piece. I hope my best is good enough, but I know she deserves far better than just good enough.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Resolutions, Month Two

February is almost over, which means the second month of my resolutions is also coming to a close and I’m going to give myself a big pat on the back for this month.

For the first time ever, I made bread. Me. Fresh, hot, right-out-of-the-oven bread. You probably don’t realize how this changes my life. If I were stuck on a deserted island, I would want to live off of bread. Bread and cheese. And wine. Or at least whiskey. But the bread is a must. And the cheese. Bread and cheese complete me.

I was a little worried in the beginning. I saw a couple of recipes online that looked easy enough, but I obviously didn’t read through them carefully. Mostly I ignored the part about needing a stand mixer. Like the pink Kitchenaid artisan model that I am coveting (that I registered for). I foolishly thought that a hand mixer on a low speed would be good enough. No. Not even close. I ended up covered in flour and threw the whole thing away in frustration. Seven cups of flour in the trash.

Then I discovered recipes that can be started in the bread machine, which has a handy little Dough setting. For an hour and a half the bread machine works while I sip wine, make another meal, do laundry, whatever. It’s pretty genius, actually.

The first recipe I tried was for ciabatta bread. I added roasted garlic to the ingredients I put in the bread machine and couldn’t have been more thrilled. I had fresh, hot bread with the perfect crust. Seriously perfect. My 13 year old fought me for the last piece. Until I threatened to cut her. Not really. But I kinda did mean it.

Last night I tried a focaccia. The dough came out of the bread machine as light as air and floaty as a cloud. (Spell check doesn’t seem to like floaty, but it’s a word. I know because I’m using it.) It baked down a bit and wasn’t as light as I expected, but I sliced some up today with the girls at work and it was wonderful. It went perfectly with some mortadella salami and Havarti. Lunch goodness.

Success #1. Check.

I hadn’t planned on attempting the barbecue until summer. However, I was craving a steak on Valentine’s Day and, not having a man around that evening, decided to try it myself. I was not disappointed. I was rewarded with a perfectly seasoned, perfectly juicy, tender piece of meat heaven. It was done exactly the way I like it. And I’m picky.

What was even better – combining the two! I had thin slices of leftover steak on my bread for lunch the next day. Along with some smoked gouda, tomatoes, pepperoncinis and mayonnaise. It was like having my own little deli, only better.

Success #2. Check check.

Marching on to March………
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